The Pats were the only winless team left in the NFL.
Week 6 (San Francisco 24, Patriots 12). One of the off-field issues that continued during the early weeks of the season was a holdout by veteran defensive end Garin Veris. Jankovich refused to offer more money, calling Veris "a part-time player" and adding that "some players drive the bus and some players ride the bus. Garin rides the bus." Veris's teammates called him a team leader. The holdout ended in the fourth week when a federal judge in Minneapolis declared Veris and three other NFL holdouts free agents. Within four days of the decision Veris was signed by San Francisco.
"It was merely a dollars thing [with the Patriots]," Veris said. "What do they do when some superstars emerge there and they want the big contracts? Are they going to pay? I don't consider myself a superstar. I consider myself a good player. If they're unwilling to pay the good players, they're in trouble."
Veris's comments came over a speaker-phone set up at Foxboro Stadium for a midweek press conference promoting the Sunday home game against the Niners. It was a surrealistic scene in the image-conscious NFL, a player knocking the team that was holding the press conference. It was the Pats. The football was better, the best of the year, but that didn't matter in the end on the scoreboard. The game also was a sellout, though certainly the last one of the season.
Week 7 (Miami 38, Patriots 17). The news this week came from MacPherson. He was asked in an ESPN interview if he was worried that if the losing continued, the coach would be blamed. He replied by almost challenging Orthwein, who had not been mentioned. "I have no fear of Jim Orthwein," MacPherson said. "He bought this team. I didn't ask him to buy it. I've got the mess, let him have the mess.... If he doesn't have the patience, then I don't have the patience for him."
The interview was shown on Sunday morning. Because the Pats were playing in Miami, with a four o'clock start, most of the players had a chance to watch it in their hotel rooms. Cornerback Maurice Hurst said how unsettling it was. Backup quarterback Tommy Hodson started in place of Millen, whose shoulder had become worse. New England got out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead but then fell apart. Badly. Dolphin linebacker Bryan Cox said he thought that some of the Pats "gave up."
"In the third quarter it seemed they didn't want to be on the field anymore," Cox said, "like they wanted to be someplace else. I've never seen that before at any level."
Week 8 (Cleveland 19, Patriots 17). What else could happen? The team's best wide receiver, Irving Fryar, was sidelined with a pulled hamstring. Millen was back but still hurting. Top running back Leonard Russell was playing but was banged up. The Patriots took a 17-9 lead into the fourth quarter. They had the game under control, didn't they? They proceeded to fumble four times in the quarter, giving the Browns wonderful field position. Millen's fumble was the last and most costly turnover.
"I'm not going to attribute it to the bad shoulder," he said sadly. "At that point in the game, you just have to hang on to the ball, but the other guy was just stronger than I was."
Nov. 1, at Buffalo.
Nov. 8, New Orleans.
Nov. 15, at Indianapolis.
Nov. 22, New York Jets.
Nov. 29, at Atlanta.
Dec. 6, Indianapolis.
Dec. 13, at Kansas City.
Dec. 20, at Cincinnati.
Dec. 27, Miami.